Will ex-president Donald Trump return to Twitter now when he has gotten his account back or will he stay with his own social media Truth Social? Trump has earlier said he will not but the temptation of the bigger audience will be there, especially now when he has announced he wants to be his party’s candidate for the presidential election 2024. But what do we know about Trump’s Truth Social?
Having introduced a surprising form of social media moderation, Twitter’s new owner Elon Musk has given Trump back his account that was locked after he was considered having incited violence during the mob attack on the US Capitol.
Musk asked Twitter users to vote yes or no to the question if Trump should get his account back. 51.8% is reported to have voted yes and Musk tweeted:
“The people have spoken. Trump will be reinstated. Vox Populi, Vox Dei”. (Latin for “the voice of the people, the voice of God”.)
The US-based Pew Research Center recently made a study of seven smaller websites, including Trump’s Truth Social, and their roles as news sources. Truth Social was launched early 2022 and is one of several sites saying they are alternatives to the big platforms that they claim limit free speech by strict moderation rules against hate and violence. The Pew study covered Truth Social and BitChute, Gab, Gettr, Parler, Rumble and Telegram.
- While 27% of U.S. adults say they have heard of Truth Social, only 2% use the site for news. Overall, just 6% of Americans regularly get news from at least one of the seven alternative sites studied, and no single site is used for news by more than 2% of U.S. adults. In comparison, many more Americans use more established sites for news, including Facebook (31%), YouTube (25%) and Twitter (14%).
- Truth Social identifies itself as a platform for free speech – but the evidence of this is mixed. The Google Play store initially rejected the Truth Social app because it did not remove posts that incited violence (though the store did make it available after the site took more steps to moderate these posts). In contrast, there have also been reports of Truth Social blocking content due to the political views expressed, and the site’s terms of service prohibit sexual and violent content.
- Many of those who get news on Truth Social report having positive experiences. Among the 2% of U.S. adults who regularly get news there, 87% say they expect the news and information there to be mostly accurate, while 13% expect it to be mostly inaccurate. 58% of Truth Social news consumers say the news they got there helped them better understand current events, while 17% say it made them more confused about current events.
- 57% of those who regularly get news on Truth Social say they are very or somewhat satisfied with the experience, while 25% are very or somewhat dissatisfied and the rest give a neutral assessment.
- 59% of these news consumers say the discussions they see on the site are mostly friendly, while 16% see mostly unfriendly discussions and 25% say they see about an equal mix of friendly and unfriendly discussions.
- Although Truth Social identifies itself as nonpartisan, many prominent Truth Social accounts are right-leaning or pro-Trump. The Center’s recent study examined 200 prominent accounts on Truth Social, selected from those with the most followers. As of June 2022, 94% are individuals while 3% are organizations. And 83% have values or other appeals in their profiles.
- 49% of these 200 accounts have a reference to being right-leaning or pro-Trump in their profile – higher than any other alternative social media site studied. In addition, 44% of prominent accounts express a religious identity, and 43% have a reference to patriotism or a pro-America message.
- Guns, the Capitol riot and vaccines are among the subjects that prominent Truth Social accounts focused on in June 2022. A review of posts from these 200 prominent Truth Social accounts found that 64% posted about guns and gun rights in June 2022, 62% posted about the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, 55% posted about vaccines, 55% posted about LGBTQ issues and 54% posted about abortion. (These posts came amid widespread discussion of several high-profile shootings and the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, and at a time when a U.S. House committee was investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. Vaccinations and LGBTQ issues were also regularly in the news.)
- About two-thirds (66%) of those who regularly get news from any of the seven alternative social media sites studied by the Center – including Truth Social – identify as Republicans or lean toward the Republican Party. This is far higher than the share who identify as Democrats or lean Democratic (33%). By comparison, those who get news on at least one of three more established social media sites studied by the Center – Facebook, Twitter and YouTube – are more likely to be Democrats or Democratic-leaning than Republican or Republican-leaning.